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How Can an OT Help Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a bodily disability that impacts perception, posture, and movement. The most common cause is brain damage during pregnancy. The severity of the child’s disability depends on the location and extent of brain damage.

Though cerebral palsy is a physical condition, its impact on the 'whole person' socially can be far-reaching and profound. Therefore, care for children suffering from cerebral palsy should aim to achieve social stability and steadiness in the child's surroundings.

Occupational Therapy is a widely accepted treatment for cerebral palsy. An Occupational Therapy (OT) specialist can help the child connect with their needs and assist them to fulfil those needs. The specialist can:

  • Prevent injury by organising a safe environment for the child
  • Select and train the child on use of assistive devices
  • Teach best alternative approaches to achieving daily living activities such as dressing
  • Help expand the child’s range of movement
  • Help the child form a sense of identity
  • Advise on how to best meet educational needs of the child

Occupational Therapy

Children with cerebral palsy tend to be less active or grumpy. In the absence of the right care, the children often sink deeper into a cycle of inactivity and irritability. Occupational therapy can help children suffering from CP develop pathways for performing daily tasks. Their brains can adapt and make up for damaged pathways by developing new pathways to take over these functions.

This pilot study registered significant improvements in goal attainment scores among 20 children who have cerebral palsy in Australia. The children were enrolled in home-based occupational therapy programs, underpinning OT's importance as a treatment for CP.

Occupational therapy uses daily tasks, practice, and therapies to teach these children's muscle movement, perceptual, and sensory skills, especially on the upper body. Child-centric OT specialists can prescribe facility and home-based programs for your child in the first 21 years of care. The child can then transition to adult care programs.

Children with motion disabilities can benefit from the many techniques in occupational therapy suitable for improving function and eliminating impairments. OT is designed around five major categories of interventions. The specialist will apply a range of interventions from each category during treatment.

Occupation and Activity Type Interventions

Activity-based interventions are done daily to treat or reverse cerebral palsy's adverse effects.

Educational and Training Interventions

Parents and caregivers learn useful information to help them in the treatment process.

Group Activities

Opportunities for the child to participate in cooperative environments are identified during group activities.

Preparatory Interventions

These interventions help the child prepare for a specific activity by laying the ground necessary to prepare for the main event.

Championing Type Interventions

Championing interventions create a supportive environment for children. The specialist tries to influence society and marshal support for patients and their families.

Where To Find Support

As the parent of a child with cerebral palsy, reaching out and getting help is crucial. According to CanChild, parents can benefit from several techniques when dealing with CP patients. Parents can start advocating for their children at the earliest opportunity. You’ll also want to teach your child to advocate for their own needs.

Parents are also encouraged to learn about their child's condition continuously. This will help them prepare to deal with the issues that are bound to emerge along the way.

You can follow this link for more information about how to care for a child with cerebral palsy. It is essential to note that occupational therapy is a crucial pillar in caring for children with CP. Early interventions will help the child overcome physical, cognitive, and sensory challenges. OT is most effective when utilized in a family-centric approach.

Specialists have identified the importance of involving caregivers, family, and other children in their programs. Like other children, children with CP need encouragement from their parents to learn. Occupational therapy provides a proven avenue for parents to do this.


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